Indian-Americans heading home for vacation via New York City this coming Diwali or Christmas have a reason to cheer.
Starting June 1, Etihad Airways is boosting capacity on the New York-Abu Dhabi flights by nearly 37%.
To boost capacity, the airline is replacing its current Airbus A340-500 aircraft with a Boeing 777-300ER.
The Boeing 777 will be configured with eight Diamond First class, 40 Pearl Business class and 280 Coral Economy class seats.
The change in aircraft will also let the airline offer “Etihad Wi-Fly” inflight Internet access on every flight to and from New York.
Economy and Business Class guests will have to pay an unspecified "nominal" fee for Internet access while First Class passengers get it free.
Etihad executives said the change to a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, the largest three-class plane in the airline's fleet, was proof of its commitment to expand services in the US. The airline recently launched services to Washington DC.
Etihad marked its entry into the U.S. market with the launch of the New York-Abu Dhabi flight in October 2006.
India is the largest single market for the airline in terms of destinations, with direct services to nine cities.
Etihad CEO James Hogan said the airline, which recently acquired a 24% stake in Indian carrier Jet Airways, intends to expand its presence in the region to meet the increasing demand for travel to and from the Indian Subcontinent.